We have a 10 game slate in the Association tonight and it is kind of ugly to be honest. We have three games with double digit spreads (Knicks/Wizards, Nuggets/Spurs, and Blazers/Lakers) and another one at -9 (Bulls/Pistons) with a low total. We do have a few nice games to target as well. The Raptors/Nets has a 206 total with a 2.5 point spread, The Thunder/Grizzlies, Magic/Timberwolves, and Pelicans/Kings all have totals between 203 and 206 with spreads of 6 points or less. Even some of the slower paced games under 200 like Bucks/Celtics and Hornets/Pacers are close enough to be back and forth and create some higher scores. The only two games I am shying away from totally tonight are the Knicks/Wizards and Bulls/Pistons. I do have a few punt plays here and there, but both of those games scare me a little tonight. With less than 10 games left for every team, this is the point in the season where you really need to be on top of injury news. Between guys shutting it down for the year and guys being rested before the playoffs, we should see enough value open up to allow you to roster anyone you want to fit in. We go over some of the rumors in our PIVOT MAN section at the end, so be sure to check that out. For now though, let’s take a look at the SHEETS and see what they are telling us:
The Thunder play Memphis tonight, which is a bad match up for any PG usually. Memphis has a solid on ball defender in Conley and they have great rim protection and rebounding with Gasol and Randolph down low. That means this is not an easy match up for a very pricey Russell Westbrook. With that said, Westy has been amazing lately. He has 60+ fantasy points in seven of his last ten games. Only once has he failed to reach 53 or more and he has a ceiling of 70+ as we have seen. For him to reach the six times value mark for a GPP on DK, you would need 75 fantasy points from him. On FD you need at least 64. He has reached those numbers recently, but only once or twice in his last ten depending on the site. He plays a strong defensive team in Memphis who likes a slower pace of play. They do need to keep winning to stay in the playoff hunt, so I can see Westy getting the minutes, but I do not like him to be a value added piece of a winning line up tonight. He never hurts you and is safe for cash games, but the price is too restrictive for me to use him heavy in GPPs. Same goes for Reggie Jackson who I think people will flock to based on the Bulls struggles to guard PGs lately. Jackson has seen his price rise and that game has a low total and a high spread. There’s a chance he could also see less minutes due to his recent sickness. There’s a lot of roadblocks with the two guys up top that many are using and the numbers are showing favorably for.
So if I do not love the top perceived options today, you must be wondering who I do like. There’s a plethora of mid tier priced options at PG today I think you can consider. Let me lay out the case for a few of them.
Deron Williams has a depressed price vs most of his peers. He has been playing much better recently, seing the lion’s share of minutes, and playing for a team that is paced up. If Lowry is out again today, he will see a good deal of Greivis Vasquez and Lou williams defense. Williams has averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and two steals over his last four games in about 30 minutes per night of action. He has returned between five and eight points per $1000 of cost over his last three and has one of the better value returns over his last five, despite putting up a 22 minutes clunker where he barely reached 18 fantasy points. The Nets are on a roll and fighting for the playoffs right now, so I expect more of the same from D. Will.
Another guy I really like is Mike Conley. I know many of you are rolling your eyes right now, but please give me a second to explain it. Yes he has to D up Westbrook some, but Westy is very turnover prone (Steals potential). The Thunder also play very fast (more possessions-more fantasy points) and Westbrook takes a lot of pull ups and driving lay ups. When the pull ups are short, the rebounds bounce off right back to where they came from. When the player drives, the guy guarding him ends up in a rebounding position close to the basket whether he wants to be there or not. Both those things should tick up his rebounds today as well. Add in to the mix that the thunder will pace up the Grizzlies and Conley will have the ball inhis hand and there’s a lot of arrows that point to upside. Conley has rounded back into shape and is seeing a few more minutes recently as well. Plus the Grizzlies are locked in a five way battle that separates mid pack playoff seeding by less than four games top to bottom amongst them. This one has a high total for a Memphis game and is expected to stay close. I think Conley makes his number easy today and will be incredibly low owned vs. some flashier options. Even at his price range around the industry I think Langston Galloway, Zach Lavine, and MCW will all be higher owned than he is.
I hate this position today. I find myself using a few guys and not loving any of them. I would not pay up at SG today. Demar Derozan is the best option if you are going to, but I think there’s better places to spend up. He is not going to have that huge upside game that wins you a GPP, so be careful with that one. They are expecting a lot of points in that game, but his price has come up to a level just above where I am comfortable. He may make value and I could use him in cash tonight, but his GPP upside seems a little on the light side for me.
However in the same game I do like Joe Johnson. J squared has looked pretty good lately and has made value at a depressed price. Add in the fact that this game should have a high pace and final score and he makes for a good bargain. He has averaged 37 minutes, 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks/steals over the last four games. That is an average just shy of 40 fantasy points which would be six to seven points per $1000 of cost all over tonight. That kind of performance would keep you on a GPP winning pace.
I am hoping to see some more value open up, but I do have a few guys I am keeping an eye on. Jordan Clarkson and Evan turner where available at SG are both in play. Both have put up some really nice numbers consistently with little problem in recent games. The one guy I am really debating is Anthony Morrow. Morrow is incredibly cheap, yet can play so many positions on the floor. With injuries all over the Thunder’s bench and ineffective play y some wing players, Morrow is being given the chance to step up as a third scoring option when on the floor. He is still under most people’s radars and he has had a few big games lately. He had a forty spot last time out, and at his price that would be a eight to ten point per $1000 kind of performance at low ownership. Perfect GPP play tonight to be different.
I have three options I have been using tonight. One high priced guy, one mid range guy, and one lower cost option. The high priced guy is Nic Batum. I think he is cash game safe with a small upside for tourney’s. He has played an average of 34 minutes with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals/blocks over his last three games. That would be good for about 38 fantasy points if he could do it again tonight. That would put him just in line or slightly above his value proposition on all three sites today. The game with LA has some risks to it, which is why I said he’s more of a cash play than a GPP one as I think there is very little chance he blows up for 45-55 fantasy points today. Still he is a safe play at a square price if you do not feel comfortable with either of the next two guys I mention.
The Middle option is Chase Budinger. Chase has one of the best average point per $ projections, one of the best position match ups, and one of the greenest last five games value numbers on the night. Over his last six games, he has averaged 35.5 minutes and his cost is still very low. He has at least 28 fantasy points in five of those six and that would be a minimum of 5.5 points per $1000 of cost if he repeats that today. He reached over 30 points in half those games as well, so he has upside. The match up today against Orlando is slated to be pretty high scoring and his team is riddled with injuries, so his opportunity should be there. He has a nice price on Draft Kings, but on FD and Aces I think he is almost a no brainer. More people are coming around to him, but still not enough to scare me away in tournaments. For a tough position to fill, I think he makes a great play tonight.
The cheap option comes with a little more risk, but makes sense to roll out again if Rudy Gay is out. Omri Casspi went off for 40 fantasy points in a spot start two days ago. He has done that and also thrown a few clunkers up in the past. Many people are scared off of him, but a guy at $4000 who can get you 40 point upside is rare. You really only need somewhere around 35 for him to pay it off and maybe a 30 to be a value added guy. In a high paced match up with no Gay, I think he can do that easily. He should be highly owned if that is again the case today, but he might be that value guy you just need to plug in and then hope to outplay others with your other seven or eight plays.
Much like we had with Harden the other night, I think Anthony Davis puts up the highest raw score at the position by a good margin. His price is also really high though, so his points per $ is not going to be great unless he puts up 75/80 fantasy points. Still there’s something to be said in both cash and GPPs for having the highest scoring player at any spot. There’s enough value opened up due to injuries and benching to fit him in and I think you can get more bang for your buck at PG than PF by going cheap. If you spend on Westy you do so at the sacrifice of Davis most likely. Therefore the real question you need to ask is whether you like the value at PG or PF more if you are trying to decide between West and Brow. To me they are steak and lobster tonight. Can’t go wrong either way by using one of them, as long as you can figure out the best way to build around them all.
If you were going to go cheap, I really like the price point on David West. Charlotte’s bigs are banged up. The starting forward combo of MKG and Zeller are both likely out, which means West should see a lot of Marvin Williams defense. He has been playing around 30 minutes per game and geting just over 30 fantasy points, so he is very safe for cash and is a good mid range plug in for value in a GPP. His upside is limited due to minutes as he does not really play 35+ and get 40+ fantasy points often, but I think he has a good match up tonight, a nice price point, and is very safe.
If you want the GPP upside at a low price, I think the man to look at s Boris Diaw. Duncan is getting extra rest before the playoffs and Diaw has picked up those open minutes. He has an excellent match up, increased workload, and one of the greenest last 5 game numbers at the position. If you need to save salary for Westy or Brow, I think this is the route to take in order to do so. His minutes are safe no matter the score, so I would not hesitate to roll him out if that was the amount of money I had left and needed someone to fit in at PF.
I love Boogie Cousins. With Rudy Gay out, we have seen him have monster games before. He went absolutely nuts Wednesday night with a 24 point, 21 rebound game that also included double digit assists and a half dozen blocks. Of all the superstars on the docket tonight, he is my favorite to reach value and provide upside. He is almost $1000 or more cheaper than Brow or Westy and provides the same ridiculous upside, especially with no Gay. I will be paying up for him all over tonight and he is one superstar I think you need exposure to.
I saved in other spots tonight to be able to pay up at center. Where I could not afford Boogie, I have been using Enes Kanter. Kanter has put up some crazy numbers in recent games. He has had eight of his last ten games with at least 37 fantasy points or more. He has reached over 40 in six of those games as well. The Thunder really need to win this one tonight and despite the perception, the Grizzlies have been giving up 45+ points to the center position recently. Gasol will have his hands full with rim protection on Westbrook drives today, so Kanter should be able to get some easy layups and put backs on the offensive end. With guys like Adams and Ibaka banged up or out, he will also need to do a lot of rebounding on the defensive glass and I can easily see a double double from him tonight. With the perception of Gasol and Memphis as a team to stay away from, I think you can get him low owned as well, which is always a nice plus in a GPP.
In this section we will highlight some of the injury news we are hearing for tonight and potential swerves in case the news breaks before line up lock. At this point in the season we usually have some high upside plays at minimum price and correctly identifying them can help you squeeze in a second or third stud tonight. Here’s what we are watching:
If Cody Zeller is out, than we get to keep rolling Marvin Williams. Williams has averaged 28 fantasy points in just shy of 34 minutes over his last four games,so he is a safe cash play with some GPP upside.
If Paul Pierce is out, than we need to look at Otto Porter. Porter got the spot start last game and was an excellent value option. He has 25 and 28 DK points in his last two games and is still only $3600. He played 28 minutes with no Pierce last game and should be in line for that again if “The TRUTH” can’t go. If you want to fit in two studs, this guy can help you get there without losing upside in your lineups.
If Kyle Lowry is out, I would not look to do much with that information. I know many will say Greivis, but his upside is very limited. His price has come up and at this point it is very tough for him to make value or add anything to your roster. Same goes for Lou williams. Greivis is $5K and averages 25 DK points for five times value. Lou Will is over $5K and averages just under 30 fantasy points. Derozan is up to $8K in spots and has been nowhere near 50 in all but one of his recent games. While I like all three guys a little and think the pace tonight benefits them, I’m not sure at present price points that any of them make value. I think all will have decent ownership too, but Raptors are my fade tonight. Let’s hope it doesn’t come back to bite me as one of them will need to go off to keep this one close.
Greg Monroe is out, so that usually means KCP, Reggie Jackson, and Andre Drummond are in play. While this has worked lately, I’m not sure it will tonight. KCP will get Jimmy butler defense. That alone knocks him out for me. Drummond will be the only real big man for Detroit and will have a combo of Noah and Pau checking him most of the night. He will also have to play some defense today to guard either of those guys on pick and roll or pick and pop plays, so I can see him struggling a little with less minutes and maybe foul trouble as well. Jackson has a plum match up with Aaron Brooks, but he is priced up, coming off an illness, and in a game with a low expected team total for his squad. I think all these guys are going to be over owned today and while I can see the case for upside, I will be fading them. Jackson if healthy is the only one I think I will have some exposure to and only in GPPs tonight.
If Steven Adams is out, then I think we see more Enes Kanter. He has played a lot of minutes anyway, but with no Kanter against the two bigs of Memphis, I think he will need to play as many as he can handle.
If Z Bo is out or limited, than Gasol and Conley need to pick up the slack. Neither guy has a tough defensive match up and both are relatively well priced today. It does look like Z Bo is in, but I do not like any direct swerves if not and would look to those other guys for increased production.
If Minnesota’s whole team remains out, than you have to like the guys who are in. Lavine is probably my favorite of them all, because he has been reaching value nightly with his price and minutes. Wiggins should get more shots so he is in play. His price has come up, so he is not a must start for me, but if Martin is out again he makes some sense. Hamilton and Payne get the minutes in the frontcourt, but neither has huge upside. Both have flashed upside in small doses, but are as likely to go for 35 as they are to go for 20 in my view. A lot of the sharp players have been finding their value with Timberwolves lately and this game does have a high total, so some of these cheap options are worth a look.
If Hickson and Arthur remain out, then Faried should benefit. If Galinari plays than he also may see a little time at the four. Wilson Chandler needs to rebound more with the PFs hurt as well, so he gets a slight uptick. I’m not expecting a great game out of the Nuggets today and do think they struggle to rebound, so it might get ugly. Still with so many frontcourt injuries we should see more minutes and usage for a few of the other guys left today.
If Rudy Gay is out again, than we have two options. Omri Casspi as the direct swerve makes sense with his low price and increased minutes and usage. He’s no Rudy Gay, but he did play huge and pay off value plus the other night. The other thing no Gay does is make Cousins a focal point. Cousins has dominated in some of those spots in the past and I think he can do so again today if he is motivated.
Nick Young and Wayne Ellington are both out, which leaves a lot of minutes for both Lin and Clarkson in the back court. Clarkson has been my boy lately and I have rostered him a bunch. His price is creeping up, but he has a solid match up and should see a ton of minutes and usage. He might go overlooked tonight again and could be the hammer that moves you up late night in your GPPs.
Draft Kings and Victiv have some of their big championships tonight Aces has some baseball Q stuff and Fan Duel has the usual Slam, Monster, and every price point on down as well. NBA may be winding down, but we still have a ton of money to be won. Make sure you go get some action tonight and give yourself a chance to take some of it home. Good Luck guys, hope to se you all up on top of the leaderboards.